This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The language of shirts: a rant

Dr Matt Taylor, the space scientist, has landed a spacecraft on a comet. The project will greatly increase Man's store of knowledge, and may even give us some pointers towards answering the problem of How We All Got Here In The First Place.

Dr Matt Taylor: a great mind devoted to the heroic pursuit of truth.

Unfortunately, for some of his audience the really notable thing about Dr Taylor's project was his taste in shirts.

Dr Taylor's shirt was printed with images of attractive young long-haired women. I cannot deny that they looked much more luscious in their outfits than Dr Taylor did in his.

Dr Taylor's shirt was loud. It was unconventional. It was, frankly, hideous (you can find an image of it HERE). It celebrated the female form. And what Dr Taylor was saying about the universe by wearing it was...



Look, I'm not saying that we don't have a language of shirts. Of course we do. Every stitch of clothes we choose to wear speaks, as they say, volumes.

But I'm reminded of the Elizabethan courtier who never changed his style of clothes on the principle that he'd be in fashion once in seven years, which was enough for him.

To despise Dr Taylor for his choice of shirt is like despising a fashion designer for his ignorance of physics. It's not that a fashion designer necessarily thinks that physics is unnecessary, evil, or dull, it's just that he or she is probably too busy thinking about fashion to worry about it, much.

No one speaks all the languages of the world. I don't speak Swahili; Dr Matt Taylor doesn't speak shirt.

But, good heavens above, I really think that anyone who claims the right to criticise him should first of all prove to us their fluency in the language of astrophysics.

Word To Use Today: comet. This word comes from the Greek komētēs, which means long-haired. So perhaps Dr Taylor's shirt was exactly suited to the occasion, after all.



  1. The last word as ever! Quite right too. WHO CARES what someone wears is another question that's worth asking. Only those who care about such things...he doesn't speak shirt, as yoiu say.

    1. WHO CARES? Those on the look-out for a chance to take offence and thus spread guilt and misery, I'm very much afraid. Having said that, I never HAVE got over the outfit Mrs Mills used to wear to teach us The Return of the took me at least a couple of decades to recover enough to be able to read Hardy's novels without pain.